By Rubin E. Grant
Reed Harradine had just one problem when he began playing soccer as a toddler. He didn’t like running.
So he wouldn’t have to run too much, Harradine decided to become a goalkeeper.
“I figured that was a position I could just stand there,” Harradine said with a chuckle.
Now a junior at Mountain Brook High School, Harradine has developed into one of the top goalkeepers in the state. This season, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Harradine has recorded eight shutouts in the 17 games he has played, including five consecutive shutouts heading into the Spartans’ Class 6A, Area 9 game Tuesday at Homewood. The Spartans entered the week with a 16-2-2 record, including a 3-0 mark in the area, and riding a 13-game winning streak.
Harradine also had 12 saves while allowing only eight goals, helping Mountain Brook earn a No. 1 ranking in Class 6A in the Alabama High School Coaches’ Poll and No. 2 ranking in the Boys Super Poll behind Vestavia Hills.
“He’s a heck of a player,” Mountain Brook coach Joe Webb said. “He has phenomenal hands. To be his size, he has incredibly soft hands and that helps as much as his punting. He has a really strong leg.”
Using Skills in Football
Harradine’s strong leg has helped him become one of the top football kicking recruits in the nation as both a punter and place-kicker. During the 2021 football season, he converted 59 of 64 extra point attempts and 7 of 14 field goal attempts (with a long of 39 yards), and he averaged 40 yards per punt. Also, 70% of his kickoffs wound up in the end zone, resulting in touchbacks.
Harradine spent spring break working on his kicking. He’s being heavily recruited by Baylor and Mississippi State, but he said he would take a serious look at any school from one of the Power 5 conferences (SEC, ACC, Big 10, Big 12 and Pac-12) that offered him a scholarship and has a good engineering school.
Harradine didn’t start playing football until the eighth grade, but he took over as the Spartans’ primary kicker as a sophomore on the varsity. Mountain Brook football coach Chris Yeager gave Harradine some of the credit for the Spartans’ stout defense during the 2021 season.
“The neat thing was Reed Harradine kicking the ball into the end zone and teams were getting the ball on the 20 and having to try to drive the length of the field,” Yeager said. “He’s a real talented young man. But probably the best thing he does is punting. He brings rain when he’s kicking it. He puts it in the clouds.”
Harradine took pride in creating touchbacks.
“Most high school kickers can’t put the ball in the end zone, so I try to put a good kick on it,” he said. “Plus, if I don’t put it in the end zone our special teams coach gets mad.”
Harradine’s most memorable place-kick of the 2021 season came in the Class 6A semifinals against Clay-Chalkville when he kicked a 28-yard field goal with 1:48 remaining in the fourth quarter to tie the score 18-18.
“That’s one of the scariest field goals I’ve every hit because if I didn’t make it, it would have been the end of the game,” he said. “So I guess you can say I clutched up.”
Clay-Chalkville eventually won the game 24-18, ending the Spartans’ playoff run.
Although Harradine’s future is in football, soccer has been his game all his life. His dad, Robert Harradine, who is from England, played as a center midfielder for the famous Chelsea Football Club in London.
Harradine’s older brother Ethan also played soccer and was Mountain Brook’s all-time scoring leader with 60 career goals when he graduated in 2018. He’s now studying engineering at UAB after playing soccer at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta.
Harradine credits his brother for helping him become a skilled goalkeeper. The two would play in the backyard and Harradine would try to stop Ethan’s shots.
“That’s how I got pretty good at goalkeeping because he was good at shooting,” Reed Harradine said.
Reed Harradine shares his success this season with his defenders, especially seniors Cole Knight and Camden Hemstreet and freshman Jude Smith.
“I don’t want anything going in the goal, so my job is to stop it,” Harradine said. “I’ve got some good guys in front of me who do a good job of stopping the ball before it gets to me.
“I try to guide all those guys back there, letting them know where people are. If they do their job correctly, it makes my job easier.”
And of course, he doesn’t have to do any running.